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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 7 (October 1, 1934)

From War to Peace

From War to Peace.

Some writers and some Maori speakers have stated that Te Whiti did not take part in any of the Taranaki wars. But he undoubtedly was with his people in the fighting south of New Plymouth in the early part of the Sixties, and the late Te Kahu-pukoro, the head chief of Ngati-Ruanui, who was wounded in the desperate but hopeless attack on the Sentry Hill redoubt in 1864, told me that Te Whiti was one of the chiefs leading the Hauhau warriors there. Tohu Kakahi, afterwards his fellow-prophet at Parihaka, was also there. They, like Wiremu Kingi te Rangitaake, were not armed with guns; each carried a tokotoko or walking-staff and directed his men. They relied on the magic Paimarire incantations taught by the prophet Te Ua. But Te Whiti soon perceived the folly of Pai-marire, and he abandoned any faith he might have had in the Hauhau charms. Thenceforth his only study was the Maori Bible.

In 1868 he fixed upon Parihaka as his home, and stirred little from that spot—except when the Government haled him off to prison for his principles. He adopted the raukura and the poi ball as his emblems; the white feathers of the albatross (in the later days the goose-feather was the usual substitute) and page 19
The Hon. John Bryce. This photo shows him when Captain of the Kai-iwi Cavalry, Wanganui, 1869.

The Hon. John Bryce. This photo shows him when Captain of the Kai-iwi Cavalry, Wanganui, 1869.

the poi symbolised peace and hospitality. He never swerved from his gospel of peace and non-resistance, and he gradually acquired a marvellous influence over the tribes of not only Taranaki but the whole of the West Coast, and to a large extent Waikato also. Maori pilgrims to Parihaka came, if not to scoff, at anyrate filled with breathings of war against the Government; they remained to worship with Te Whiti and to imbibe his sentiments of goodwill to all men.

It was hard for some of the warriors to accept tamely the amiable counsels of the Prophet of the sacred Mountain. Titokowaru, after he had recruited his force following on his defeat by Whitmore in 1869, was anxious to fight again. He was very restive under the military survey and road-making on his lands on the Waimate Plains. “If the mosquito bites my leg,” he said to Te Whiti, “I must slap it.” The prophet's reply was, “Were not your ears singed?” This was an allusion to the war chief's defeat by the Government forces. Titokowaru deferred to the sage counsel of the spiritual leader; and even when a Government road was put through his cultivations he did not stir; his day was done.